The Log Book: University of Arkansas’ supply chain program renamed to honor JB Hunt Transport

The LogBook is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: The University of Arkansas’ undergraduate integrated supply chain management program renamed in honor of JB Hunt; CFI wraps another truck for its “She Drives CFI” initiative; and Bendix helps build a new high school athletic facility in the new headquarters’ community.

University of Arkansas’ supply chain program renamed to honor JB Hunt Transport

The University of Arkansas announced Thursday it has renamed its Sam M. Walton College of Business undergraduate integrated supply chain management program to the JB Hunt Transport Department of Supply Chain Management as the college and the Lowell, Arkansas-based transportation and logistics company look to leverage the partnership to develop leaders for tomorrow’s future supply chain needs.

As part of the announcement, JB Hunt also said it would be committing an additional $1.5 million toward the development of the renamed supply chain undergraduate program currently ranked as the No. 1 in the country by research firm Gartner.

“Walton College aims to be the leader in supply chain management education, research and career readiness,” said Matt Waller, dean of the Walton College and holder of its leadership chair in business. “A gift of this magnitude from one of the global leaders in logistics can expand our reach to talented students, expert faculty and industry thought leaders. Together, we can advance the industry’s positive growth and practice.”

(Video: JB Hunt Transport – YouTube)

Over the last two years, JB Hunt has donated $5 million to the Walton College of Business to help the Fayetteville, Arkansas-based school become the top destination for future supply chain professionals. Since 2017, the company has gifted more than $7 million to the university to help with transportation and logistics initiatives.

After that initial gift in 2017, the partners created the JB Hunt Innovation Center of Excellence, bringing students and researchers together to develop technology solutions for different supply chains. In 2020, JB Hunt made a $2.25 million donation and created a $1 million endowed scholarship to support diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives within Walton College.

“JB Hunt and the University of Arkansas are shaping the future of the supply chain, not just in northwest Arkansas but across the country,” said Shelley Simpson, president of JB Hunt. “Together, we are preparing future leaders who will grow with the industry to meet evolving supply chain challenges. This will help us achieve our mission of creating the most efficient transportation network in North America — and ultimately the world.”

CFI gifts female driver with custom wrapped truck

Truckload carrier Contract Freighters Inc. (CFI) on Wednesday unveiled a new company truck with a large wrap recognizing its “She Drives CFI” program, which promotes better career opportunities for female professional drivers.

This is the fourth wrapped truck CFI has created for the program, with each having been awarded to company female driver ambassadors that use them to participate in local events, school programs, community engagement opportunities, truck shows and Special Olympics convoys.

At the unveiling event, the truck was assigned to Penny Thomas, who has been driving for CFI for 15 years with over 1.6 million safe-driving miles behind her.

Penny Thomas and dog.Thomas speaking at the event.(Photos: CFI)

CFI currently employs over 4,000 women drivers, which represents about 14% of its total driving workforce. The company hopes its “She Drives CFI” wrapped trucks will inspire more women to jump in a big rig and hit the road.

“These trucks recognize the professional excellence and skills of their drivers and serve to encourage more women to choose trucking as a career,” said Greg Orr, president of CFI.

(Video: CFI – YouTube)

Bendix gives $25,000 to update local high school athletics facility

Avon, Ohio-based Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced Thursday it has handed the Avon Athletic Boosters’ Project SOAR a $25,000 construction gift to help modernize the high school’s athletics building into a 4,400-square-foot structure outside of its stadium to house locker rooms, coaches’ office, medical training room and open community room.

With this donation, the new coaches’ office will be named after the vehicle systems company as well.

“The new athletic facility [plan] is impressive, and we are very proud to have joined with other Avon-area businesses, families and individuals in supporting Project SOAR and its mission to further the school’s athletic program,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “With Bendix’s recent move to Avon, this was a project that tied both to our new community and to the local school system, establishing a connection that we hope will flourish and grow in the coming years. Sports are always a great way to reach youth and a perfect avenue to teach students about teamwork, discipline, leadership, and many other skills that we value as a business, so this project was a strong fit.”

Bendix Coaches Office. (Photo: Bendxi)

Project SOAR is a subset of the Avon Athletic Boosters, who came together in 2019 to find a way to support the school’s rising athletic talent. First the group was looking to build a two story practice building but settled on the one story building when labor challenges and construction costs began to pile up on them.

After Bendix moved its North American headquarters to Avon, Ohio, in 2021, SOAR became aware of the company’s commitment to community support and reached out directly to help wrap up the new athletics facility project.

“The best kind of projects are the ones where the whole community comes together to get something done, and I think this is a great example,” said Matt Canning, Project SOAR co-chair. “We were able to pull together the community, businesses, the school district, private donors, and sweat equity and labor from players and parents. That’s the combination that made this happen.”

For Bendix, it represented a great introduction to the Avon community and what it hopes to accomplish in the future.

“We maintain a continuing relationship with the district,” Gutierrez said. “We hope to support other projects, including academic programs that relate to STEM or sustainability.”

Watch now: What happened in Northwest Arkansas?

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